What’s a Senate Blue Slip and Why Is It Losing Power?
 Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings, wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

It’s a literal blue slip of paper that for decades meant a senator could block a president’s nominee to a federal judgeship in their home state. These days, however, the Senate’s blue slip might be becoming defunct. Senior editor David Hawkings explains.

Below is a transcript of the video:

A Steady Flow of Political Royal Blood to Congress
Hill dynasties don’t last so many generations any more, but plenty of family members still try to stay in electoral business

Saturday’s wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is creating another surge of American royal mania, and with a particular twist — besotted chatter about their offspring someday running for Congress, or even president, while remaining in the line of succession to the British throne.

It’s a fanciful notion, regardless of whether the Los Angeles actress retains dual citizenship after she passes her British citizenship test, because the Constitution prevents titled nobles from taking federal office.

San Antonio Not Looking for a Republican Invasion
GOP convention could produce intense anger — without a sure economic windfall — in Latino-majority city

SAN ANTONIO — Tourism and the military are bedrocks of a steady economic expansion here. Pro-business local power players have been pushing to host a party convention for decades. And President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign manager calls this city home. ...
What You Need to Know About Voter Registration and Turnout This Midterm Season
Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings — Wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

Who votes, and who doesn’t, will effectively decide control of the next Congress — and turnout has recently been weak in midterm elections. In part that’s because millions who could vote never get registered. But for 2018 there is still time to register nationwide.

Registration deadlines are about a month before the election in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

How Ryan and Pelosi Are Kicking Themselves to the Curb (Sort Of)
Removing modest perks for ex-speakers is good politics but enfeebles the speakership

The Incredible Shrinking Speakership is going to get just a little bit smaller.

The Constitution makes speakers unassailable as presiding officer in the House. Chamber rules vest the job with plenty of responsibility. And federal law places them second in the line of presidential succession.

Podcast: Of Politicians and Pastors
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 9

Voters Reward a Do-Something Congress. Wrong, Recent Results Show
Some midterm years are policy voids, others historic. Either way, voters tend to shake things up

Four years ago, the second session of the 113th Congress was widely identified as one of the most profoundly unproductive stretches at the Capitol in the run-up to a midterm election.

And yet the achievements of that divided Congress tower over the minimalist aspirations for this year held by the Republicans unilaterally in charge of the Hill. The limit on federal debt was raised in 2014, federal flood insurance premiums were rolled back, dozens of new waterway and environmental projects were authorized, a five-year farm bill was finished and, most notably, a generous deal was struck for improving veterans’ medical care.

Analysis: Missteps, Paul Ryan’s Had a Few
Reluctant speaker ceded the high ground, airbrushed history and napped on the job

He says there are still eight months left in his speakership, but it’s probably not too soon to come up with a roster of Paul D. Ryan’s biggest hits and misses during his tenure in charge of the House. 

If the Wisconsin Republican finds his stature in congressional history diminished, decisions like these could be why:

An Intense Reporter Turned Patient Editor: Steve Komarow Remembered
Few Capitol reporters and war correspondents make no enemies; CQ Roll Call’s top editor an exception

Steve Komarow, CQ Roll Call’s executive editor and senior vice president, accomplished something very rare in the often cutthroat worlds of Washington bureaus and foreign correspondence: Across a varied and accomplished career of four decades, his calmly confident news judgment and patiently clear-eyed managerial style produced nearly universal respect and virtually no lasting enmity.

At the Capitol and across several war zones, Komarow, who died Sunday at 61, stood out for his unruffled approach to the most dramatic developments, an equanimity in supervising high-maintenance reporters, an easy affect amid intense journalistic competition — and a cockeyed grin when confronted with the constant but mostly ephemeral melodramas of all four high-pressure newsrooms where he played pivotal roles.   

What’s a Joint Meeting of Congress and Who Gets the Honor?
Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings — Wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

French President Emmanuel Macron, fresh off a state dinner at the White House, will address Congress on Wednesday. Roll Call editor David Hawkings explains the pomp and circumstance of such affairs on the Hill....
Why the Hill’s Quitters Caucus Keeps Growing
Republicans, especially, are leaving Congress midterm to get a money-making head start

There are really just three ways to give up a seat in Congress on your own timetable: retire, resign or quit. And the method with the least attractive connotations has become particularly popular in the last decade, especially among Republicans.

Those who use the term “retirement” properly are lawmakers who decline to run for re-election but complete the term for which the voters chose them before returning to civilian life, whether as money-makers or golf club denizens. Departures are best labeled “resignations” when senators or House members are forced to up and leave by particularly good, or ruinously bad, professional circumstances — elevated to higher positions in public service, most often, or politically poisoned by moral exposures or criminal failings.

Quitting Congress For Cash is a Recent Phenomenon
 Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings — Wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

Senior editor David Hawkings takes a look at members of Congress who are leaving their posts for more profitable positions in lobbying and on TV, a phenomenon that’s seen an uptick in recent decades (and was virtually nonexistent before the 90s)....
How Congress’ Schedule Is Supposed to Work
Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings, wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

The House gaveled out of session for the week on Wednesday after just two and a half days of work. While Capitol Hill sees some weeks that are more frenetic and productive than others, the chambers typically follow a more predictable schedule for their weeks. Senior editor David Hawkings explains....
Podcast: Use of Force vs. Use of Power
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 8

Senators on both sides are pushing to rewrite the law authorizing military force, untouched for 16 years. Even after airstrikes on Syria the debate is likely to fade fast, White House correspondent John Bennett explains, part of a complex modern war-making power dynamic that favors presidents over Congress.

Show Notes

What’s the Nuclear Option? Dismantling This Senate Jargon
 Roll Call Decoder with David Hawkings, wonky explainers from a Capitol Hill expert

President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the Senate to drop a third nuclear bomb on the chamber’s procedure — completely eliminating the filibuster and allowing all legislation to pass with just a simple majority. Senate leaders have already gotten rid of the filibuster on executive and Supreme Court nominees, so why has the chamber avoided this final nuke on legislation? Senior editor David Hawkings explains....
Roy Blunt: Playing the Inside Game and Scoring
Missouri’s GOP senator is proof the popular outsider play isn’t the only winning route

In a political world where running against Washington has become one of the easiest paths to getting there, and where the ultimate outsider neophyte is president, Roy Blunt stands out as proof that the opposite approach sometimes still works.

Few in today’s Congress have succeeded as well, and for as long, at the inside game — where influence is cultivated and sustained by combining broad political and policy expertise along with deep interpersonal skill.

Ryan: Liberated Deficit Hawk or Lame Duck Whose Quack Won’t Be Heard?
Keeping his options open might mean reviving his personas of Trump critic and fiscal doomsayer

Paul D. Ryan is the first speaker of the House to depart on his own timetable in more than three decades. So what’s he going to do with the time he’s given himself for trying to massage his wounded legacy?

His most obvious option is working to revive a pair of well-remembered but recently abandoned roles — earnest fiscal doomsayer in a time of coursing red ink, and steward of seriousness and stability in a Republican Party that’s in the thrall of President Donald Trump.

Joseph Crowley, 56 Years Young and Ready to Succeed the Old Guard
Current leadership at least two decades older than New York Democrat

When the inevitable generational change starts in the top ranks of the House Democrats, Joseph Crowley is planning to be first in line.

Seven months can be more than several lifetimes in politics, of course, and an almost infinite number of internecine machinations will play out before the election — maneuvering not only within the current caucus but also among the candidates who are its most viable prospective new members.